Hovering is a term used to describe an assignment in which a paraprofessional spends most, if not all, of his or her day working with a single student.
For paraprofessionals who juggle a workload that includes focusing on dozens of specific students throughout the teaching day, making sure that all of the students they work with are having their needs met can be quite a challenge.
As opposed to co-teaching, where teaching responsibilities are often shared between two colleagues, the teacher-paraprofessional relationship is a bit different, with the teacher taking more of a supervisory role. This can influence attitudes that are reflected in phrases like “just a paraprofessional,” when paras actually play a much more important role in the classroom than many realize.
Is there anything to be gained by creating a culture in our schools where paraprofessionals (teaching assistants, aides, paras, para-pros, classroom assistants) are viewed as 'less than'? Paraprofessionals have a vital role in our schools. Often, as one parent expressed, paraprofessionals are the least paid, least trained people in the school community, yet they are often charged with caring for and academically supporting the most challenging and most needy students.
The role of the paraprofessional in the classroom is often ill-defined and leaves too much room for interpretation which can contribute to frustration in the relationship between teacher and assistant. Here’s help.